Each year Business Link Magazine invites a select panel of the region’s business leaders to offer up their predictions for the year ahead. It has become something of a tradition, given that we’ve been doing this now for over 30 years. And, while none of us possess a crystal ball, it is uncanny how accurate some of these forecasts have been over the years.
Here, we catch up with John Bancroft MBE Chairman & Founder of Badgemaster in Nottingham, who makes his predictions for the year ahead:
As the UK’s leading and largest name badge manufacturer, our 30,000 customers provide an excellent barometer of the economic climate with our order books reflecting their confidence in the market.
The tourism industry certainly has faith going into 2018. The fall in the value of the pound has given rise to better times of late; I have seen an increase in staffing levels and mobility of labour within the hospitality, leisure and travel sectors. Visitor numbers are likely to continue to increase bringing diversity opportunities for established businesses, and sustainability for those new to the market. High Street retailers located in tourist destinations are in prime position to buck the downward trend likely to be experienced by their peers and take advantage of the re-emergence of UK tourism.
The industry will undoubtedly hot up next summer, as we see another royal wedding. While name badge supplier to the Royal Household I don’t expect an order!
Speaking of international relations, Badgemaster has recently enjoyed an increase in trade throughout Europe and as far as Australia, in part, thanks to the weak pound. My confidence in international trade is strong going into 2018, a sentiment shared by half of the businesses already trading internationally, who also believe opportunities are increasing. With Brexit on the horizon, we will wait and see!
One sure fire prediction is further developments in digital, continuing to change the way we run our businesses and interact with customers. I believe we can expect more efficient business processes, increased convenience for our customers and an enhanced experience. Digital development is on the agenda for Badgemaster and our customers over the next 12 months.
Conversely, growth in digital is placing a spotlight on customer service, another trend for 2018. Interestingly, the Care Quality Commission, the regulator for all health and social care services in the UK, recognise the role that name badges have to play in client care and as Chairman of Badgemaster, I fully endorse that view!